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Dear Christine, Guilty in Grosse Pointe Shores

| August 8, 2016

ccc 2Dear Christine, 

 I’ve discovered evidence that my long time partner is cheating on me.  We’ve lived together for 15 years and a few days ago she left her email account open.  We normally respect each other’s privacy but I went and looked at her emails. I guess I’ve been suspicious.  I found more than I wanted to find. She’s definitely being intimate with someone else. Someone I don’t know.  That night I tried to get her to talk a bit about our relationship, give her an opening to confess. It didn’t work. I haven’t told her what I know. She’s acting like nothing is wrong between us. We are still very close and she tells me she loves me all the time.  Should I tell her I know?  It would mean admitting I peeked.  Part of me wants to ignore it and hope it blows over.  I don’t know what to do.  Any thoughts? Advice? 

Thanks, Guilty in Grosse Point Shores

Dear Guilty,

I am sorry to hear of your discovery of infidelity.  You’ve been suspicious.  Something hasn’t been right. Perhaps your partner wanted you to snoop to learn the truth.  Cheating trumps snooping, every time!

Healthy relationships are based  in trust.  The truth is often painful.  Couples often work through infidelity, but the slow drip of dishonesty will end the relationship. You need to understand why she lied and broke a fundamental boundary.  Tell her you read her emails.  She can then give her side of the story.  Then both of you decide if there’s enough worth working on.  If something has been missing in the relationship, this is the best time to get everything out in the open and discuss it completely.  Then, get counseling to rebuild the relationship or figure out how to part peacefully. There is no need to make any decisions immediately.  You have been together for many years and have a lot of memories, emotions and intertwined lives.

Keep healthy boundaries and don’t contact the other person or vent on FaceBook or tell friends all the gory details. They may feel a need to take sides and then be angry with you if you stay together, after all.  If you don’t have a neutral friend who can listen, they try psychotherapy.  Take your time to figure out what you really need and whether this is going to work for you as you learn the whole truth.  And take care.

Christine C. Cantrell, PhD
 1026 W. 11 Mile Rd,
Suite C
Royal Oak, MI 48067
248-591-2888

Click here to email Christine.

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